Hypnosis by osmosis

January 30, 2007

My wife has returned to her blog with a quick update on the last 18+ months :

Hypnosis and the power of the mind

It has been fascinating watching as she learns clinical hypnotherapy (especially since she’s so good!)

Naturally some of the information has been rubbing off on myself – to the point where I’m starting to use self-hypnosis occasionally … very cool stuff.

For those of you unsure of hypnosis, take a look at the respected Australian science journalism TV show Catalyst – they did a very interesting story back in August of 2005. You can watch the show and read the transcripts there.

It was that story that completely change my mind about hypnosis. Perhaps you will change your mind as well?

Investment update

January 29, 2007

Went to the MMC EGM today where we passed the resolutions to complete the purchase of the funds management business. Once again I was impressed by the MMC staff and less impressed by the agitators. Will be putting more money here in the next
few weeks.

Also getting very tetchy about my other investments – in particular I am heavy in finance stocks and with more and more record highs I’m thinking of reducing my exposure here and chasing down some more of the value based managers I’m hearing about.

Two to investigate will be : Hunter Hall and Platinum.

Going to learn some magic this year

January 29, 2007

Found a good collection of ten tricks illustrated in video – all on one page!


When buying a fridge, what is most important?

January 24, 2007

So my parent’s side by side fridge has just given up the ghost. It was fourteen years old – strangely enough it replaced a fridge that was also fourteen years old. What are the chances they’ll get the same longevity now?

Anyway, to the point. The most important feature right now, that is an absolute deal-killer, is the dimensions of the fridge.

Show me some way online to search for fridges by dimensions. Go on, I dare you. Bonus credit if the site deals in Australian available units.

This is one of those times when you realise that no one who is building the websites, even the manufacturer sites, not one of those people has stopped to think “what’s most important to the customer?”

Of course I care about energy efficiency. Yes the finish is important, along with the configuration (side by side, freezer on top, upside down etc…) However the only critical factor to allow me to even consider the purchase of your fridge is ‘will it fit in the space I have in my kitchen?’

Duh. Why do you bury the dimensions on your confounded websites?

Put yourself on the Google Map

January 24, 2007

There’s an opportunity for Sydneysiders to get themselves on the Google map this Friday.

Australia Day 2007 on Google Maps

As it happens, we’re hosting a neighborhood BBQ lunch on the day (postponed from Christmas) as it is our turn this year. However a friend of mine does live in a penthouse apartment that looks like it is in the picture zone, so I’ve put the call out to see if our friends can come up with something interesting.

Ultracapacitors – here’s hoping!

January 24, 2007

I thought I had blogged about ultracaps before, but a search didn’t show anything … so here we are.

Ultracapacitors (or ultracaps) are an energy storage device that operate differently to batteries. The main point of difference seems to be in their charge / discharge times – radically faster than batteries. They also handle many more cycles with degrading (the so called memory effect of batteries, for example.) However, all shipping ultracaps have lower energy density than batteries – which means you get to store less electricity per kilogram of device. In fact as low as one tenth of the density at present. Fancy carrying an ultracap that weighs ten times as much as your batteries? Me either.

Along comes a story about a startup called EEStor and how they are claiming to have broken the density problem. That would of course be fantastic, but I’d be wary that this is another press release to hype investors … seeing one of the biggest VC funds in there doesn’t, strangely, reassure me at all.

Ultracaps do have applications in electric vehicles, quite successfully in regenerative braking systems where the high charging rates are suitable – as is the high power available to get your vehicle off the mark again. Whether EEStor (or others) can break through the density problem and replace chemical batteries remains to be seen at this stage, I for one would love to see it happen.

activeCollab on MAMP (and how to upgrade); GTD?

January 23, 2007

First a recap :

activeCollab is an easy to use, web based, open source collaboration and project management tool. Set up an environment where you, your team and your clients can collaborate on active projects using a set of simple, functional tools.

MAMP stands for: Macintosh, Apache, Mysql and PHP. With just a few mouse-clicks, you can install Apache, PHP and MySQL for Mac OS X! (In fact MAMP acts as a single application that you double click to run, just like everything else on your Mac.)

GTD is David Allen‘s Getting Things Done productivity system, for, err, getting things done.

Some time ago I installed activeCollab on a test basis into a MAMP installation. This is part of my (slightly procrastinating) quest for spending time testing systems for being an efficient developer. Since so many good things have been said about BaseCamp (which activeCollab is ‘inspired’ by :-) I thought it may may a great productivity tool.

The only problem I have is just how to actually use activeCollab – being an actively developed project that is yet to make a one-point-oh release, the documentation of real world examples is yet to appear. More on that later.

Anyhow, it came time to upgrade both MAMP and activeCollab – and today was the day.

For some reason I first upgraded MAMP, then activeCollab – and after some trials here is the method I think would work best (naturally your mileage may vary…) My MAMP install is pretty much only running activeCollab (aside from a couple of static pages) so that’s what I’ll focus on here.

First – from the MAMP home page I launched phpMyAdmin and selected the ‘collab’ database. Next I made an export of the database, using ‘select all’ to make sure I get everything. Leaving pretty much everything else as default, I also chose to save as file (in gzip format) which gave me a nice small file to keep on hand as a backup after we are done.

With the database backed up, I then use Finder to create an archive of the MAMP’s htdocs folder. This ensures I have a copy of all static html files as well as the whole activeCollab install.

Now is the time to check MAMP’s preferences for the ports you’re using (and note them down) and then stop the servers.

Now you can move the entire (old) MAMP folder out of your Applications folder to keep it out of the way (at first I tried renaming the folder and the app so I could run the old and new side by side, but that caused all manner of chaos that I would recommend against!)

Nearly there! Install (drag) the new MAMP folder into the ‘Applications’ folder. Now drop the htdocs folder you had archived to replace the new MAMP’s ‘htdocs’ folder (and de-compress it, of course.)

Lastly you can run phpMyAdmin from your MAMP’s main page and use it to import the database export that you made earlier. The cool part is that the import function will happily read a compressed export file, so you don’t need to do anything yourself. A final check to MAMP’s prefs to make sure that Apache and MySQL are running on the same ports as before (you did write those down, didn’t you?)

That’s it! You are done upgrading MAMP with activeCollab installed.

What comes next? I am glad you asked. Since I’ve tracked these links down, it would be a shame to waste them :-)

The first link is to the activeCollab forum ‘How do you use aC?‘ Wherein people are describing how they are using activeCollab to suit their circumstances.

Then come some links to Patrick Rhone articles about applying GTD principles to Backpack or BaseCamp (which are, as you recall, ‘inspirations’ of activeCollab!)

Now that should be enough to keep anyone occupied for a good while – getting ‘organised’ ;-)


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